Culture & Communication : Author, Artist and Auteur

A long time has passed since I wrote things expressing my thoughts and the true voice of the heart. My Culture & Communication professor, Pooja Thomas has given us an opportunity to express our learnings and interpretations from her lectures and put them in a journal of ours. The most wonderful part is that we will be rewarded marks on them which makes it a much more responsible act of writing.

“I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.”

The professor started her course with an extract from Rudyard Kipling’s poem quoted above which sort of hinted towards how she expected our line of thoughts to be when we contemplate about any event or situation. She showed us a clip from a 2004 German/British film ‘Yasmin’ set in a British Pakistani community and asked to think about it and tell what all could we observe about the culture and other phenomenon taking place in the background.

The answers that she got from us revolved around the ‘frames’ that the director of the film uses and how he shows them for making his point to the audience. To create a meaningful text (films are nothing but audio-visual texts) the maker has to be an expert of the culture he is playing or working on. Only then he’ll be able to capture subtly the little nuances which have large meanings within a culture.

In our world full of Arts and Texts, the one who creates them are classified as an Author, Artist or Auteur. There is a distinct meaning  between the classification of the three categories. An author is “the person who originated or gave existence to anything” and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created. An artist is a highly skilled person in any of the Arts (literature, performing, culinary, media or visual) and may or may not be the source of origination of work. An Auteur is a special word originating only in 1940s during the French New Wave. The Auteur theory says that it is the director that brings the film to life and uses the film to express their thoughts and feelings about the subject matter, therefore they are deemed to be ranked as their author. Thus, an auteur is a film director who influences their films so much that they rank as their author.

Culture constantly changes. The things through which our identity is communicated cannot be easily categorised or classified. It requires an understanding of the context sensitivity as a concept which helps us analyse and see-through the various cultural products such as citizenship, language, food, clothes and music. The expert of culture with these understandings will be successful in building the consensus with multiple stakeholders in any cultural situation.


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